Betcy Thomas talks about veganism in Dubai: ‘The demand for meat-free food is growing.’

Betcy Thomas, Marketing Manager at Just Vegan, the first vegan fine-dining restaurant to open in Dubai, shares insights about this new trend.

Dubai Vibes Magazine: First vegan fine-dining restaurant in dubai… How excited are you about it?   

Betcy Thomas: Veganism has witnessed a “plant-based revolution” in 2019 and is an ongoing top trend prediction for 2020. Just Vegan Restaurant in Dubai has announced to open its doors at Jumeirah and launching 10 physical locations by 2021, launching 5 Branches within April-May 2021.

Meat-free food is becoming more and more established and the demand from consumers is growing. This is also noticeable in restaurants, which have constantly developed their range of products in this respect in recent years. We want to make Vegan food widely accessible to people reach at an affordable price with wide range of Plant-Based dishes.  

Chef Suresh, Cluster Head Chef at Just Vegan has a simple food philosophy: to create contemporary seasonal dishes using fresh and sustainable produce, locally grown where possible. He takes inspiration from food and cultural trends. With the rise of veganism in recent years, we are delighted to be able to launch a menu completely free of animal products. 

DVM: How/Why did you come about with the idea?

BT: The idea and concept of Just Vegan started back in 2017, over a simple discussion between friends about the future of food. The conversation started about the future of food, has now become the reality, Just Vegan.

The founders have successfully ventured around the globe, spanning from the Middle East, USA, UK, South East Asia and is headquatered in New York, USA. 

Whether you’ve gone vegan for January – or forever – or have simply vowed to consume less meat, eating out needn’t mean missing out. Indeed, it can be a valuable source of inspiration, especially for those who have only recently embraced a non-meat-based diet. And if you’re more flexitarian in your approach, Just Vegan restaurants serve flavorful plant-based meal at affordable price.  

DVM:  Could you describe veganism as being the trend these days?

BT: Veganism, a lifestyle espoused to cease the use of animal products, particularly in diet, namely dairy, meat and poultry. Veganism is not just a habit but has also become a trend towards healthy living, as more and more people are learning about the damage it is causing to the environment and animal species. The rationale of veganism is to stop stressing, exploiting and taking animal’s life to an end of their species. It is a philosophy based on Ahimsa. Though the concept of Ahimsa originated in India, the term ‘vegan’ was coined by Donald Watson in 1940 by taking the first three letters and the last two letters of the word vegetarian. Awareness regarding food being the major cause of health or disease is on the rise. People are also becoming aware of their carbon and water footprint. Health is the Way ahead.

According to a fictional story, the elephant was appointed as the prime minister of the jungle due to his patience and calm nature. He was also available to help his colleagues of the jungle with his heavy energetic huge body and caring nature. An elephant is an animal who sustains on plants, grass, trees for food which makes him so healthy, energetic, respected and someone who’s looked upon. 

This may give us great virtuous precedent of growing into a vegan future.

Although meat, dairy and poultry provide us protein and calories, their consumption has now become a bit dangerous, as eggs are being injected for protein to develop faster, milk is made by using lab-based chemicals and hormones, cows, buffalo’s and other animals are kept as a breeding machine to bring forth their species. They are tied up in large factories and with the help of machines, their milk is extracted in large quantities. Therefore, in reality, the dairy industry is known to be not so white as presented.

Alongside cows and buffalos, many other animals are being shot down to make clothes, handbags, wallets, shoes, jewels, etc. Animals are treated to an extreme level of brutal advantage due to which the population of some animals is existing in the jungle, whereas the domestic ones are treated barbarically to make some or the other products.

The two hottest topics of 2020: the COVID-19 pandemic and climate change. The one surefire way to help prevent another pandemic and help address the ongoing climate apocalypse is to go vegan. This year has seen a huge spike in interest in vegan foods, and 2021 will undoubtedly see an even bigger upward trend.

It’s been a year we have been quarantined due to this horrific pandemic corona-virus (covid19) which is stated to be a bat prone virus. Whether it’s grown in the market or made in the laboratory for medicinal purposes, this sets a cruel example of animal exploitation.

COVID-19 is known to lower the power of our immune system so that the person is not left capable of fighting respiratory disease. Vegan food habits and practices have been found beneficial in this difficult and crucial time of a pandemic. Vegan diet includes fresh fruits, seeds and vegetables which contain nutrients and micronutrients like vitamins and minerals, which makes our immune system strong and healthy. Correct and balanced vegan diet is also statistically considered to make us leaner and much less prone to obesity than the general population.

DVM: How ready, do you think, is Dubai for vegan meals?

BT: In Dubai, you do not have to explain now a days what vegan means. Everybody understands what being vegetarian entails and lately also what veganism is. In Dubai, one can now find a lot of vegan food in mainstream super markets,  plant-based milks, vegan burgers and schnitzels, vegan ice cream, in regular frozen sections. After all, by adding so many physical locations of Just Vegan, UAE will be one best places in the world where you can enjoy the great vegan food at the affordable price.


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